18 December 2013

NEXTDC offers customers renewable energy from M1 solar array

NEXTDC Limited (ASX: NXT), Australia’s leading Data-Centre-as-a-Service (DCaaS) provider announces the ground-breaking solar array on its M1 data centre in Port Melbourne (“M1”) is now operational.

In what is believed to be a first for the colocation data centre industry, customers of NEXTDC facilities across Australia can now select 100% renewable energy generated onsite by the data centre operator. The array also makes M1 Melbourne the first colocation data centre in the region to directly utilise solar power.

The $1.2 million photovoltaic solar system, one of the largest privately funded rooftop solar arrays in Australia, is expected to generate approximately 550 megawatt-hours of electricity annually. This is equivalent to off-setting over 670 tonnes of CO2 per annum – similar to taking 200 cars off the road.

NEXTDC CEO Craig Scroggie said, “This is a very exciting innovation for both the data centre industry and enterprises looking to take the lead on energy efficiency, not only by hosting in world-class, energy efficient facilities, but also by purchasing their electricity from a 100% renewable source.”

“NEXTDC will offer customers who are interested in sustainability the option to secure renewable energy, to the extent it is available, and to provide those customers with a carbon footprint reading through separate monitoring of their solar and grid power consumption. Data centre customers will have the ability to choose a combination of power sources.”

“A milestone project like the M1 data centre and its solar array is revolutionary for Australia’s IT sector, driving power generation choices and energy efficiency. It sets the benchmark for data centre sustainability and design and further cements NEXTDC as an industry innovator.”

Simon Cooper, NEXTDC’s Chief Operating Officer, commented on the achievement, “The new solar array will regularly produce at least five percent of the electricity that NEXTDC’s customers are using. In helping us reduce our peak demand for energy from the grid, it improves supply stability and reduces our reliance on fossil fuels. The electricity generated by our solar power system is clean and sustainable – factors that benefit us, our customers and their customers too.”

Built by solar experts Energy Matters, the array comprises 1,575 high performing REC 255 Peak Energy solar panels turning almost 3,000m² of rooftop real estate to profitable use. This utility-scale project is unique in the Australian data centre industry and points the way forward for other commercial players.

Commenting on the installation, Nick Brass, co-founder of Energy Matters said, “NEXTDC has not only taken a leadership role by being the first data centre in Australia to make such a meaningful commitment, its foresight means it has effectively locked-in a sizeable portion of its energy bills for the next 25 years and beyond.”

“The benchmarks for the NEXTDC installation were high. Data centres are highly complex electrical environments, and power integrity is essential. With galvanic isolation to prevent any leakage from DC to AC power systems, the landmark installation is a clear testament to the ability of Energy Matters to manage and deliver large and complex installations.”

NEXTDC has also committed to solar installations at their other new build data centre properties including S1 Sydney and P1 Perth.